The Chemical Brothers live, Yokohama

One of the few videos on the channel that was not filmed in Philadelphia: The Chemical Brothers live, Yokohama, Japan.  An unbelievable stage/light show to go along with the music that is so much bigger when heard live.

When I was planning the trip to Japan I thought I’d look around for gigs, looking for something small and low key, and came across an ad for this gig.  And I was so happy, as I am a big fan.  The Chemical Brothers rank in my top 10 of gigs – which, when you think about the number of shows I go to, is pretty high up there.

Seeing them in the 90’s

I first saw them in Philadelphia in the late 90’s, way before I started photographing everything, and they completely blew me away.  For someone who loves the punk rock experience  (guitar, bass, drums) to be so blown away by two guys behind keyboards and decks is quite something.  It was the Dig Your Own Hole tour, so lots of big beat sounds. At first I felt they were just playing the CD and jumping around behind the decks – the first few tunes did not blow me away.  But the slowly started to get faster and faster, and you could hear the occasional error.  And they incorporated the error into the track, rather than bury it – proving they were musicians who could handle the odd bum note.  Faster and faster.  Louder and louder.  Bringing the room to a crescendo, followed by come down, followed by even bigger crescendo – over and over.  A formidable gig by any means, especially by 90’s standards.

Japanese Concert Experience

But back to this video.  Slightly nervously headed out for my Japan concert experience – I had my map on my smartphone, so I knew how to get there. I had my ticket – but not speaking or reading japanese meant I had to rely on Japan being super organized and efficient (and the people of this fantastic country did not let me down).

Yokohama is just outside Tokyo, lots of transport options to get there – so that bit was easy.  Finding the way to the venue was simple enough with google maps – The gig was advertised on a big screen outside, so I knew I was in the right place.  In the door, present my ticket – all good – then they stop me, and are speaking to me in japanese (it is a general assumption if you are in Japan, and not in a heavy tourist area,  you speak japanese).  It turns out I had to buy a drink ticket – not a problem, I am at a gig in Japan I am probably going to have a drink.

Lots of people milling about in the front of house.  Got my drink,  bought a t-shirt (knowing it was never going to fit me!!), having a great time.  Then I have to find my seat – not easy, as there is no english signage anywhere.  I approach someone in a STAFF t-shirt. show them my ticket and mumble about not knowing where to go.  They take the ticket, read it, bow and beckon for us to follow them.  They lead us through security, into the hall and show us to our seats.  I say “Arigato, Thank you” and he is about to leave, turns back to us and says “Also, with these tickets you can go to the pit area.”  So he could have just explained to us where to go from the beginning – but we got the full-service escort to our seats.  Very nice.

3 opening acts.  The first of which was a late addition to the bill, and were a great opener: Tokyo Ska Paradise Orchestra.  If you ever get the chance – go and see them.  Absolutely brilliant!  During the opening acts I decide to move down to the pit area: great view, nobody crowding me – good idea.

As soon The Chemical Brother step on stage it is huge.  The crowd are all up and jumping, the screens are all lighting up, and the boys are making great music.  In the video you can see the band on the stage, but I stayed zoomed out so you could get some idea of the visuals…Massive video screen.  And as the video ends you hear the start of their New Order cover.  So so good.

So watch the video (loud if you can) and hopefully get the idea of what a Chemical Brothers concert is like – and go see them live.  They don’t do full shows too often these days – but well worth it when they do.  Check it out.